Lessons and Pitfalls for Successful Implementation of MEDDIC, MEDDICC and MEDDPICC Sales Methodologies
In this article, we’ll help you understand what MEDDPICC is and does, and then dive into the more subtle implementation details that are often overlooked when deploying this sales methodology to enterprise sales teams.
Let’s explore what separates a good MEDDPICC deployment from a great one.
What is the MEDDPICC Sales Process?
MEDDPICC is simply a staged (“gated”) sales process designed for complex B2B sales organizations and is widely used by enterprise sales teams selling technology, SaaS, capital-intensive sales and high-end services. It creates a sales checklist to help qualify the “fit” of a customer to a sales team’s solutions, to identify competitive advantages and weaknesses in the deal, and to help sales reps decide next steps and actions to advance towards a successful close.
Back in the day, when IBM was considered the best of the best in sales, they were famous for “qualifying out early”. The best sales teams are efficient – that means that they avoid chasing bad deals. One of the most useful things about MEDDPICC is that it helps salespeople and their leaders get a sense of “deal quality”, any necessary fixes, and indeed whether they should be in this deal at all.
MEDDPICC is simply an acronym for the eight stages in this sales qualification methodology:
- Metrics – The quantified value that your solution provides to a customer
- Economic buyer – The ultimate person (or people) that can approve a deal
- Decision criteria – The customer’s priorities and the basis for their buying decisions
- Decision process – The steps in their buying process from evaluation to purchase
- Paper process – The legal process that leads from a decision to buy to an executed contract
- Implication of pain – The identification of “pain points” that your solution solves for the customer
- Champion – A person within the customer organization with the credibility and influence to support a buying decision
- Competition – Other companies or people who compete for the same funding you are targeting
It’s a powerful framework when implemented properly, helping support both higher productivity for sales professionals and improved forecasting, but there are some potholes to avoid along the way which we’ll explore below.
MEDDIC, MEDDICC and MEDDPICC – Origins
MEDDPICC and MEDDICC are derivatives of the original MEDDIC, created in the 1990’s by John McMahon, Dick Dunkel, Jack Napoli and the sales team at technology company PTC. (Simply remove the “Paper Process” [P] and “Competition” stages [C] above and you’ll end up with MEDDIC).
For those interested in its genesis, here’s a good interview with John McMahon.
Advice on successful MEDDPICC implementation
The MEDDICC methodology itself is not complicated, (simplicity being a big part of its charm!) and configuring the stages, qualifying gates and weightings, and then getting your sales organization to understand this stages and functionality is, frankly, the easy part.
But gaining the buy-in from your salespeople to use it well is much trickier, and critical to successful implementation.
Gaining knowledge is easy; building skills and changing mindset are hard.
Here are a few of the less obvious lessons to guide a successful deployment and set your team up for sales success.
Gain leadership support early
Implementing a new sales process (MEDDPICC, MEDDIC or any other) is a significant investment, and should not to be done lightly. Your team needs to know that this is not the latest “flavor of the month”. Sales leadership (Chief Commercial Officer, Chief Revenue Officer or SVP Sales) needs to drive, fund and be seen to support the implementation, and not leave it to the sales operations and enablement teams.
Initial messaging from senior leadership to the team is important, (including, for both reps and front-line managers, “what’s in it for me”) but it doesn’t stop there. Consider conducting a review of KPIs (including financial incentives) for the field sales team so that they understand that leadership takes this seriously and will be tracking progress. We see too many teams focus on measuring activity – focus KPIs on quality.
It’s also often worthwhile sharing the leadership dashboards that are used to track success with the sales team, so that everyone understands clearly how this rolls up to the CRO.
Visibility drives accountability.
Don’t forget sales execution skills
One of the single biggest mistakes we see in companies deploying MEDDPICC is to assume that, with a qualification framework for deals in place, your salespeople know how to sell.
MEDDPICC is really a deal strategy tool. There’s not much point having a great strategy if your team doesn’t have the skills to execute.
Like all sales processes, MEDDPICC suffers from “garbage in, garbage out”. If your enterprise salespeople aren’t really skilled at establishing credibility, listening skills, monetizing value, exploring pain points, engaging the C-Suite stakeholders effectively and qualifying genuine buying intent, they are likely to be populating their MEDDPICC checklists with garbage data. You’ll only appear to have identified the MEDDPICC stakeholders, and their real pain-points and metrics.
We recommend, as part of your MEDDPICC deployment plan, that you couple it with
- High quality enterprise skills training focused on role-playing the most difficult sales meeting types (such as the first C-Suite meeting in a new logo acquisition deal, or an early meeting with procurement leading up to a contract renewal). Film the meetings for debriefing if your enablement team has both capability and the required credibility with the sales team. (If not, engage a high quality provider). War-game upcoming meetings. It’s amazing how many skills gaps you can surface in one or two focused days of quality training, and your team will embrace MEDDPICC if you’ve also “sharpened the axe” to help them move through the pipeline faster; (the bold underlined bit can link to our training page, or have a break-out box with link to training, or whatever)
- Deploying a simple, standardized pre-call planning process for critical meetings. This will not only lift the productivity of your mid-performing reps, but it also forms an excellent tool for front-line managers to coach skills gaps in their team, before they cost you in lost deals.
Drive better MEDDPICC execution with robust pre-call planning tools and high quality enterprise selling skills
Establish “Deal rooms” for pressure-testing
For at least the first 6 months after deployment, run monthly MEDDPICC “Deal Rooms” where live deals can be presented by the deal owner (enterprise sales rep), and stress tested by a small, constructive group of experts in a time-limited format.
Try to enlist two levels of management (the rep’s immediate manager, and their boss) plus any others who can contribute meaningfully, (or can learn from attending). For larger sales teams it can be done regionally to achieve scale.
Review three deals in an hour, and stick strictly to time.
There is significant value in having the reps learn to “punch with brevity” – to distill a deal into its main components, and describe in less than 15 minutes:
- The deal “strategic objective” and the MEDDPICC status
- Leverage analysis (Major opportunities to advance the sale, and any “red flags”)
- The immediate next step, including the Pre-Call Plan for the next big meeting
This leaves 5 minutes for pressure-testing and Q&A by the team.
Having the sales leaders attend demonstrates the importance of the process to the team. You may find the first few meetings sloppy and a little discouraging, but once word gets around that the Area Vice President sits in on these deal reviews, your team will turn up prepared. Done well, these deal rooms will accelerate performance and give sales leaders efficient visibility into the skills and capabilities (and gaps) on the front line.
Share the wins
Simple but powerful – “ring the bell” on any major wins; share the wins with the team, along with an analysis of why you won, any lessons learned. The feeling of momentum in a sales team is hard to beat.
Implement a post-deal debrief process
Most people understand the value of MEDDPICC for planning and forecasting. But one of its other great benefits is to help your sales organization become a learning organization. Post-deal debriefings are often talked about, but are usually one of the first things people drop when things get busy.
Implement a simple quarterly cadence that reviews final decisions from customers (both when you close deals and when a purchasing decision does not go your way). We call this “closing the loop” on the sales cycle.
Great leaders spot patterns. If you keep a simple “wash-up” log, you can start to see trends with your deals, and identify recurring problems – was the decision-making process not properly understood? Were key decision-makers and other stakeholders not engaged early enough? Did we lose the deal in procurement because of a lack of negotiation skills? Did we win the deal, but lose most of our margin in discounting? Where in the sales process was that value eroded?
Front-line manager coaching
MEDDPICC provides a solid structure with which your front-line sales management can review deals with their team; they obviously need some training on “what to look out for” on a MEDDPICC deal. But (again), this isn’t the hard part.
Most managers understand deals pretty well – the vast majority got promoted to the manager role because they were great individual contributors, so advising on a deal comes very naturally. But many never graduate to being able to build scalable “muscle” in other people – the ability to identify competency gaps in their team members, and to coach the gaps in their people, not just gaps in the deals.
The biggest productivity gains come from getting your front-line managers to start thinking about coaching people, not just deals.
Implement a simple competency framework, and train your managers to be able to build up a picture of competencies and gaps for their team. (Here’s a great tool for Salesforce users)
MEDDPICC stands as a powerful tool to qualify your deals and get better “deal health” metrics on the sales funnel. You’ll get far more buy-in from your team if you deploy it with the following:
- Clear, early leadership support and messaging
- A review of KPIs and incentives to align the interests of the front-line with sales leadership goals
- Co-deployment of quality skills training and a simple, consistent pre-call planning methodology (execution, not just strategy) alongside the MEDDPICC launch
- Investment in your front-line managers – teach them to identify competency gaps, and to coach their people, not just the deals
- Implementation of deal rooms and a simple robust post-deal debrief process to spot trends and learn faster, especially on Closed-Lost deals.
For discrete expert advice on how to successfully deploy sales methodology changes, including MEDDPICC, to drive higher productivity for your enterprise sales teams, schedule a free consultation.
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